Presented By Roger Smith

It was a time when women had few rights and no say in political decisions or other matters of importance. It was a time when it was believed that women didn’t have the emotional or mental capacities for higher learning and insightful thinking (and yet this era was known as the Age of Enlightenment!). This talk is about some of the most amazing, yet little-known, participants in the American Revolution, gathered from various collections of reports about women from each colony, of all races, free and enslaved. These women dared to resist the “norms” of 18th-century western culture in order to stand for their beliefs and their rights. These are stories of courage and hope from the nation’s first generation that would inspire women throughout the course of American history.

Dr. Smith received his Bachelor’s Degree in History in 2006, a Master’s Degree in American History in 2008, and a Ph.D. in Early American History and Atlantic World Studies, with a certificate of scholarship in Museum Studies, in 2011 – all from the University of Florida. His work on the American Revolution in the South has received the Aschoff Fellowship Dissertation Award and the Jack and Celia Proctor Award in Southern History. Dr. Smith’s upcoming book, The Last Union Jack, discusses the little-told story of British intention and military activity in the southern colonies from 1775 – 1780, as recorded from a British perspective.

Dr. Smith now represents the firm of Colonial Research Associates, Inc., and speaks across the South on his Revolutionary War research. His current projects include the new AMC television series Turn, a spy thriller set on Long Island, New York, in 1778. Dr. Smith provides historical research for Super Music Vision, the music production company for this and other AMC programs. You may also see Dr. Smith speak of Florida’s Revolutionary War history in the documentary, America: the Prequel, a four-part series on the 450-year history of the city of St. Augustine. Most recently, Dr. Smith is in the process of selecting several primary stories of interest from his 5 ½ years of research on this topic and reworking them into a series of six 32-page supplemental texts that are designed to reach a broad general audience and will include state standard requirements in the Humanities and Social Sciences for the State of Florida’s public school systems. The first two books in the series, “The 14th Colony: George Washington’s Planned Invasions of East Florida” and “Hope of Freedom: Southern Blacks and the American Revolution,” are available and may be found on the company website, www.ColonialRA.com. Book three, “Women of the American Revolution: Lost Voices of America’s First Generation,” is in production and will be available by spring 2016.

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Roger Smith


Presented By Betty Jean Steinshouer

Experience Florida through the milieu of three women authors, in character and costume: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Each wrote a book that put Florida on the map – in 1873, 1938, and 1947, respectively.

  • Harriet Beecher Stowe in Florida: 1866-1884 Little-known facts about Mrs. Stowe’s work for the Freedmans Bureau and her family’s activities during the Civil War, including the Battle of Olustee. Illuminates discussion of the Reconstruction Era and its aftermath in Florida and the Sea Islands of Georgia and South Carolina
  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas: Reclaiming Florid From her first glimpse of Florida light in 1891, when she was a toddler, to her death in 1998 at age 108, the woman known as the “matriarch of the Everglades” wrote volumes in addition to the River of Grass book. She wrote about hurricanes, trees, flowers, and “the long frontier” of Florida history.
  • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and 75 Years of THE YEARLING Can it really be that long since Jody Baxter came into the America imagination? The book that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1939 will be the focus of a Florida history lesson – set in 1871, it tells of Cracker life immediately after the Civil War.

Betty Jean Steinshouer has been doing public programs and teacher seminars for the Florida Humanities Council since 1989 and has toured 43 other states for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Big Read program of the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a Fellow in the Florida Studies program at the University of South Florida.

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Betty Jean Steinshouer


Presented By Ersula Knox-Odom

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) was the founder of Bethune-Cookman University. She served as a New Deal government official — in one of the 20 highest-level offices held by women in the administration, and the highest held by an African American woman; was founder of FDR’s “black cabinet”; served as president of the National Association of Colored Women; founded and served as president of the National Council of Negro Women.

As we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education decision, Dr. Bethune comes to life from May 17 1954 and shares fascinating stories of her extraordinary contribution to democracy. She will then answer questions. After Dr. Bethune “leaves”, Odom will answer questions regarding her research.

Ersula Knox-Odom is an author, legacy writer/reporter with approximately 100 articles to her credit, workshop leader, Florida Humanities Council Viva La Florida performer as Mary McLeod Bethune, motivational speaker and prize winning life lyricist. Ersula has the uncommon ability to successfully address multi-generational and multi-cultural audiences by sharing life experiences from rural life, college life, corporate management, motherhood, entrepreneurship, sales, self-publishing and genealogy. Her signature seminar being “Unlocking Your Wisdom”. She is a member of African American Historical & Genealogical Society and Zeta Phi Beta. She is a graduate of Eckerd College and lives in the Tampa Bay Area.

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Ersula Knox-Odom


Presented By Jack Davis

University of Florida historian Jack Davis draws on his award-winning biography to discuss the life and legacy of writer, feminist, and environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas, recognized as a Great Floridian.

Dr. Jack E. Davis is a professor of environmental history and sustainable studies at the University of Florida. He is the author or editor of several books on Florida and is a frequent contributor to Forum. His latest book, An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century, won the gold medal in nonfiction from the Florida book awards. He is now writing Gulf: The Making of an American Sea, an environmental history of the U.S. Gulf region from geological formation to the present. The book builds on an article he wrote for Forum, which was the recipient of two Charlie Awards.

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Jack Davis